Wahida – Board Member

Wahida has been involved with CRS firstly as a client, when she came to New Zealand as a young girl in late 2004. While in high school, Wahida was looking for opportunities to improve her English. She came across a youth programme that Jo Fasheun and Alastair White, former Youth Coordinators for CRS, used to run. She joined the programme for refugee and migrant background young people, before being asked to volunteer for the programme in the Youth Reference Group. In this group of four, volunteers were asked to provide information to CRS to help them create the right programmes for young people. They were also asked to gather information from young people with refugee backgrounds and encourage them to join the programmes. Wahida was involved in this programme until 2008, when she moved to Dunedin to study at Otago University. In 2010, Wahida relocated to Auckland but continued to be in touch with the agency. She moved back to Christchurch in 2016 and was asked to join the Board.

Wahida says the agency is known for its reputation amongst different communities in Christchurch. “CRS knows what we (refugees) have gone through and so they know what services they can provide. They have been known and trusted in the community longer than any other agency, which is great. They helped me and other people that I know, my friends and some migrant friends that I have got, they’ve accessed the programmes and the help from CRS as well,” she says.

Wahida has many highlights of her years with CRS, but she particularly enjoyed the Youth Camps. “We would do a lot of different activities that we’d never ever come across before. it was something new for us, something new for all the young people, especially from my community, the things we did we don’t do those things back home, there’s no such thing as activities back home for young people. So everything was new, everything was interesting for all of us and I still have some friends who talk about those camps that we went to from 2005-2009.”

Wahida also enjoyed the women’s exercise and swimming classes. The classes are an opportunity for the ladies to come together and socialise and learn new skills. Wahida says, “They just love it. They come together, they laugh together.”

When asked about the 30th Anniversary, Wahida says, “I can’t believe it, it’s all thanks to the General Manager and her team as well as the past and present Board members. And the amazing volunteers as well. It goes to show how well they doing. They’re doing amazing work, that’s why we stand with them and support them. Especially myself, where I am right now, it’s because of the support I received from CRS. I’ve grown personally and professionally because I have been with them since 2005, and I’ve learnt a lot myself. I want them to keep doing amazing work and keep spreading the love and aroha in the communities. Here’s hoping for more celebrations and many happy years to come.”